The Public Service Commission (PSC) is a quasi-judicial, regulatory agency established under Title 3, VIC Sec. 237. Currently operating under the provisions of Title 30 Virgin Islands Code Chapter 1, the PSC has broad mandate to maintain an important balance between the public utilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the territory's ratepayers.
The PSC consists of seven voting members and two non-voting or ex-officio members. The seven voting members are each appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The two non-voting members of the Commission are comprised of elected Senators and are appointed by the President of the Legislature. Annual elections are held and a Chairman and Vice-Chairman are elected by the Commission members.
The day to day operations of the PSC are headed by the Executive Director, Donald G. Cole and the Assistant Executive Director, Sandra L. Setorie.
Title 3, VIC Section 137 [repealed 1987] originally created the Virgin Islands Public Services Commission within the Department of Public Works, for administrative purposes. Title 3, VIC Section 273 continued the Commission within the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA) for budgetary purposes and is one of twenty (20) major departments in the VI government.
What does the PSC do?
The Commission sets rates that provide regulated utilities an opportunity to earn a return on their investment in order for them to provide adequate and reliable service and, that are also reasonable for the customer. The PSC also seeks to help consumers better understand its functions and how they can participate in the rate-making process.
How are utility company rates set?
Whenever a regulated electric, water, telephone, cable TV or ferryboat company wants to change its rates, it must come before the PSC for permission. The PSC investigates its request and sets new rate levels if the request is valid. The investigation is extensive, with the PSC staff, counsel, and consultants helping the commission assess the company's request.
The Public Services Commission has regulatory jurisdiction over the following utilities:
- Virgin Islands Telephone Company [also known as Innovative Telephone] – for local telephone service
- Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority - for electric and water service
- St Croix Cable TV [also known as Innovative Cable] – for cable television service (limited to service issues)
- St Thomas/St John Cable TV [also known as Innovative Cable] – for cable television service (limited to service issues)
- Transportation Services of St John - for passenger ferryboat Service;
- Varlack Ventures, Inc.- for passenger ferryboat service;
- Choice Communications, LLC - Choice Wireless
- Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority- for solid waste and waste water management (limited to rate settings)